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Old 05-02-16   #1
charlie5

 
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Default Yin and Yang

Alot of Chinese philosophy includes an understanding, sometimes quite nuanced, of "yin" and "yang".
Reading that stuff all the time and then walking out into modern culture, I try to explain things and sometimes want to use the concepts of yin and yang.

But someone recently said
"charlie to listen to you I'd have to study ancient Chinese philosophy,
I have no idea what you mean - yin and yang".

I mean I think most people have heard of it and he's exagerating,
but still, maybe alot of people would agree with him?

Do you think people can talk about yin and yang in our culture?
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Old 05-02-16   #2
Bartmanhomer
 
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Default Re: Yin and Yang

It depends whatever people believe in the yin and the yang or not. I'm a Taoist and I believe the yin and the yang. The yang means positive male energy and the yin mean negative energy. I don't know why the yin have negative female energy for some reason that sounds a bit sexist. I guess it was an ancient time period back then.
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Old 05-02-16   #3
MonSno_LeeDra
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Default Re: Yin and Yang

Yes if you understand that Yin and Yang are opposing forces that act upon one another. That balance is never 50 / 50 but anything that adds to 100. Once that is understood then I think one can use the concept of active or passive which then equates to masculine or feminine in action. Not the concept of male and female as so many try to equate it to I think.
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Old 05-02-16   #4
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Default Re: Yin and Yang

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonSno_LeeDra View Post
Yes if you understand that Yin and Yang are opposing forces that act upon one another. That balance is never 50 / 50 but anything that adds to 100. Once that is understood then I think one can use the concept of active or passive which then equates to masculine or feminine in action. Not the concept of male and female as so many try to equate it to I think.
That's what I was trying to say masculine and feminine but I use the example of using the word male and female. It just like saying sun and moon, good and evil.
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Old 05-02-16   #5
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Default Re: Yin and Yang

Equating yin and yang with female and male energy I'm afraid may be insufficient for explaining to people today, because people tend to see themselves as one or the other; trying to explain to an 8 year old, who asked again and again which one of the two of us was yin and which was yang, I said it's both of us who are both, which one of us breathes in and which one of use breathes out? Which of us wakes up and which of us goes to sleep, which of us is active and which of us is still?
Yin, the 'feminine' principle, I see as my movement, my thought, getting up in the morning, being a human, as opposed to my immortality instructor the moon - the difference between man and the moon, is yin; the thing that is the same in man and the moon is yang, the practice of self cultivation, meditation and stillness, like the moon:

'scented lovely newborn
supple extended vacuity
mottled linked flower
pure connected gold
glowing fixed visage'.

An interesting phrase in Daoism is 迅牝金籥常完堅 (xun pin jin yue chang wan jian) - "fast is the female, golden is the flute; constant use perfects both into solid and firm strength";

Yin is the female, yang is the flute;

"Not injuring or harming each other, they must mix together and blend their qi, pure essence returning in a chain of form, therefore it is perfected into solid firm and strong."

The I Ching is a series of pictures that evolve, from yin to yang and back to yin and back to yang in cycles. A circle revolves from the first quarter to the last quarter, and five is the dot at the center of the circle, the precious treasure at the center of the hermetically sealed alchemy chamber or crucible; five is the elixir, the essence of prior heaven at the center, the pinnacle, moment of transformation, when yin turns to yang, when yang turns to yin - at the point of maximum agitation, then tranquility; at the point of maximum tranquility, then agitation.

So there's a time for yin and a time for yang; yet the goal of a Daoist Immortal is to become 'pure yang', and the scriptures try to talk us out of endless yin behavior that uses up and exhausts out "original yang", tries to talk us into pursuing the immortality of angels, becoming pure yang, sleeping like a rock.

I think there's the yin of the universe - the wind, the rain, the movement of the spheres; the yin of heaven, but then there's the yin that we try to add to our lives, the yin of coffee, and of the "bai ling" - the 'hundred energies' that we ride to create and get through a busy day.

The scriptures in Daoism tend to encourage us to convert the yin to yang; as the world turns and the wind blows, to hold still, not spend the daily bread, and let it accumulate in the storehouse instead, like the cells of angels.

So with the polarization of the sexes - "women have problems and men are problems"; "do we really need men anymore?", etc., I don't think it's helpful to call yin and yang female and male, but rather to point out the interdependency, and the fluid motion from one to the other and back again:

陰陽列布如流星 (yin yang lie bu ru li xing )

"Yin and yang arranged in a series, spreading out like wandering stars"

The yin in the night turns into yang when the sun rises, yin converted to yang; and the yin of the day becomes the yang of the stars that come out one by one:

極陰反陽觀日而見列星也 ( ji yin fan yang guan ri er wang jian lie xing ye)

" Extreme Yin turns over and starts to become Yang; this is shown by the coming of the day,and also by the appearance of the series of stars - star of the male that takes over the problem that is female"


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Last edited by charlie5; 05-02-16 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 05-03-16   #6
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Default Re: Yin and Yang

Quote:
Do you think people can talk about yin and yang in our culture?
I think people will talk about it, whether or not they understand what it is is another issue altogether.

One of my favorite verses that I think illustrates yin and yang is:

Quote:
Chapter 11
Thirty spokes join in one hub
In its emptiness, there is the function of a vehicle
Mix clay to create a container
In its emptiness, there is the function of a container
Cut open doors and windows to create a room
In its emptiness, there is the function of a room

Therefore, that which exists is used to create benefit
That which is empty is used to create functionality

(taken from here)

I can't seem to find it, but I also remember a passage about people making a bowl, but the empty space to hold water is the important part.

As Monsno said, Yin and Yang is about balance, give and take, cycles.

I relate yin and yang to the art concepts of negative space and positive space sometimes as well.
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